The winter root veggies in this bowl are caramelized and then mixed with kale, quinoa, cannelloni beans, pistachios, and dried apricots. It is the perfect vegan buddha bowl to nourish your soul and body.
Buddha bowls are everywhere these days -- and with good reason! They are healthy and always delicious. I love these bowls and go through entire phases where Buddha bowls are pretty much all I eat.
You might be asking, what exactly is a Buddha bowl? Honestly, the definition depends on the cook. Buddha bowls have no set rules. However, generally, a true Buddha bowl is filled with plant-based ingredients comprised of grains, veggies, nuts, dried fruit, and dressing.
If you're looking to make this a meal, I recommend making one of my favorite bread recipes, easy yeast bread. With all the calories you saved, I won't tell anyone if you want to top this meal off with a mint chocolate lava cake and make it a date night.
I am writing this towards the end of January and root veggies match the season. Root vegetables are hearty, bursting full of flavor, and deeply satisfying on cold winter days. Below is a quick rundown of the vegetables I used to make this recipe. Feel free to swap out the ingredients with what is stocked in your pantry or currently available at your store. That's the nice thing about Buddha bowls, they are very flexible and forgiving.
- Red quinoa - Is rich in protein, fiber, and many important vitamins and minerals. Red quinoa is also higher in antioxidants than other varieties of quinoa. If you cannot find red quinoa, you can substitute it with another variety or any other whole grain. (Brown rice, bulgar, etc.)
- Red kale - Also called Russian kale, has a sweeter and buttery flavor than traditional kale. I prefer this variety because of the milder flavor. Other substitutes you can use include regular kale, romaine, or spring lettuce mix.
- Carrots - You can use traditional orange carrots or rainbow carrots. Personally, I love rainbow carrots because they help me to "eat the rainbow". However, the flavor is pretty much the same.
- Cauliflower - I used white cauliflower to add white into the mix. However, there is not much difference in taste between the different varieties and I recommend you use the color of cauliflower you prefer.
- Purple potatoes - These are my absolute favorite potato! They are the right size and taste great. These potatoes are indigenous to the Andes and are packed with antioxidants! You can substitute purple potatoes with red or sweet potatoes, either would taste great!
- Cannelloni beans - These beans are packed with fiber and protein. I really like cannelloni beans in this Buddha bowl because of their mild flavor. I recommend staying with this variety if possible and letting the vegetables be the star of the show.
- Pistachios - Did you know that pistachios are a member of the cashew family? They are from small trees found in Central Asia. Besides that random bit of trivia, pistachios taste great! I love them in this salad because they add a variety of flavors that is unexpected. Cut them into small pieces or set your food processor to chop and hit pulse a couple of times. However be careful not to over-process the pistachios, they can quickly become dust.
- Dried apricots - The nice thing about dried fruit is they have a rich deep flavor. These dried apricots are no different. Cut them into small pieces and sprinkle them over the salad. They provide a sweet surprise in every bite.
The real star of this Buddha bowl is the oven-roasted carrots, cauliflower, purple potatoes. When done correctly, the vegetables actually caramelize. There are a few tricks to getting caramelization right. It's just a little bit of extra work and completely worth it!
Trick One: Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. High heat is necessary for the vegetables to caramelize.
Trick Two: Clean the vegetables and pat them dry. Super dry. If there is water on the vegetable then it will steam instead of caramelizing. However, note that pealing is a personal choice. I prefer to leave the peel on, my husband prefers root vegetables peeled. Either way is good.
Trick Three: Cut the vegetables into bite-sized pieces. For the carrots, I like them whole. However the thicker carrots I split them in half so they would cook evenly with the thinner carrots.
Trick Four: Spread the vegetables out on the baking sheet and give them lots of room. Space allows your vegetables will roast, rather than steam.
Trick Five: Embrace the char! The charing on roasted vegetables taste so good! Even if you can pierce a veggie with a fork (the sign the vegetable is fully cooked), you might want to continue roasting the vegetable until you have charred points (see the cauliflower below).
Layering a Buddha Bowl
If you want to make your own Buddha bowl or make adjustments to my recipe, use these five components as a roadmap to the recipe.
- Whole or ancient grains - This is the foundation of your bowl. Aim for 2 -3 cups. of brown rice, quinoa, bulgar, or other whole grains.
- Veggies - An assortment of veggies in all types of colors --and pile them on!
- Protein - Beans, legumes, or tofu are great choices. Aim for half to one full cup.
- Sprinkles of flavor - Nuts, seeds, and dried fruits are great choices. Limit to 1 - 2 tablespoons.
- Drizzle with dressing - Make your own, it's so easy. But go simple. The goal here is to accentuate the flavor, not to drown it.
For more information about Buddha bowls, I recommend visiting the Forks Over Knives website. They are an amazing resource for plant-based cooking. I personally love their cookbooks, magazines, and their film on Netflix.
Winter Roasted Veggie Buddha Bowl (Vegan)
- 1 bunch carrots
- 6-8 purple potatoes
- ½ head cauliflower
- ½ red quinoa (uncooked)
- 1 bunch red kale
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- ½ tbsp balsamic vinaigrette reduction
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup cannellini beans
- ¼ cup dried apricots
- ¼ pistachios (unsalted or low salt if available)
Oven Roasting the Vegetables
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Wash the carrots, potatoes, and cauliflower. Peel the carrots and potatoes if desired.1 bunch carrots, 6-8 purple potatoes, ½ head cauliflower
- Pat the vegetables dry, super dry, and cut into bite-sized pieces.
- Toss the vegetables with one tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.2 tbsp olive oil, Salt and pepper to taste
- Arrange the vegetables on the baking sheet. Be sure to give the vegetables lots of room on the baking sheet and use two sheets if needed.
- Using a spatula, rotate the vegetables every 15 minutes to ensure they cook evenly. Cook for 30 - 45 minutes. The vegetables will be done when you can easily put a fork in the center.
Preparing the Other Ingredients
- Prepare the quinoa according to the directions on the box.½ red quinoa (uncooked)
- Remove the stems on kale and chop finely.1 bunch red kale
- Once the quinoa has cooled, toss the quinoa and kale together.
- Mix 1 tablespoon of olive oil and ½ tablespoon of balsamic vinegar reduction together (this is your dressing). Pour half of the dressing over the quinoa and kale, sprinkle with salt, and toss well.2 tbsp olive oil, ½ tbsp balsamic vinaigrette reduction
- Rinse the beans and set them aside.
- Using a food processor or a knife, chop the dried apricots and pistachios into small pieces.
Arranging the Buddha Bowl
- Arrange the kale/quinoa, potatoes, carrots, cauliflower, and cannellini beans in separate sections in each Buddha bowl.1 cup cannellini beans
- Drizzle the remaining dressing over the potatoes, carrots, cauliflower, and cannellini beans.
- Sprinkle the pistachios and dried apricots across the top.¼ pistachios (unsalted or low salt if available), ¼ cup dried apricots
- Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
- A traditional Buddha bowl has the vegetables and grains in different segments and then is sprinkled with dressing, fruit, and nuts on top. However, I often toss mine together like a giant salad. I believe this is a personal preference and either way works.
- I portioned this out into two very large Buddha bowls. This recipe can easily be four Buddha bowls depending on your appetite.
- I tend to use very light dressing and seasoning in my bowls. If you prefer more flavor you can:
- Add additional seasoning to the veggies like rosemary, turmeric, or garlic halfway through the cooking process.
- Add ½ - 1 full tablespoon of tahini, mustard, lemon, or honey to the dressing.